Trump Says Without ICE, California Would Be a ‘Crime Mess’

President considers pulling ICE agents out of self-proclaimed sanctuary state California
February 22, 2018 Updated: February 22, 2018

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he is considering pulling federal immigration agents out of California, ostensibly in retaliation against the sanctuary state.

He said if he pulled Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol out, it would be a “crime mess like you’ve never seen in California.”

Trump criticized California’s sanctuary policies that forbid local and state law enforcement to communicate and cooperate with immigration authorities, with very few exceptions. Law enforcement officers are subject to civil action if they violate the new policy, including by communicating with ICE about illegal aliens in their custody.

“Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation, the protection of these horrible criminals,” Trump said during a discussion with local and state officials on school safety on Feb. 22.

“If we ever pulled our ICE out, if we ever said ‘hey, let California alone, let them figure it out for themselves,’ in two months they’d be begging for us to come back, they would be begging. And you know what, I’m thinking about doing it.”

On Jan. 1 this year, California’s Senate Bill 4 came into effect, which made the whole state a sanctuary for illegal aliens—including convicted criminal—and shields them from immigration enforcement.

California had already instituted policies to go easy on illegal aliens. In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that reduced the maximum sentence of a misdemeanor to 364 days, down from 365. Immigrants—legal and illegal—are subject to expedited deportation if they receive a sentence of 365 days or more.

Nearly one quarter, or more than 2 million, of the country’s estimated illegal alien population live in California, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

ICE did not respond to a request for comment.

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